Tuesday, May 03, 2011

President Mugabe Urges Media to Be Objective on Zimbabwe

President urges media to be objective

Monday, 02 May 2011 22:27
By Itai Musengeyi

Journalists should do their work without hindrance but should report on both the good and the negative, President Mugabe said yesterday.

Speaking to journalists on the eve of the World Press Freedom Day, President Mugabe said journalists should be free to work, reporting the good and bad but with more focus on positives.

"Press freedom means just that, press freedom, but freedom to report on what is progressive to society.

"Yes the negative must be reported but it must not be created by the media.

"Most parts of our media focus on the negative, the negative always and the conflicts between our leaders but never look at the constructive and positive work that is being done by the inclusive government.

"We look forward to being informed and objectively criticised, and objectively praised," said Cde Mugabe.

The President was speaking to journalists at Harare International Airport after returning from Italy where he attended the beatification of the late Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.

He said he was surprised and shocked that ZBC chief correspondent Reuben Barwe was denied a visa to travel to the Vatican to cover the beatification ceremony.

"I was surprised and shocked that on this holy trip there was an unholy decision to bar one of our journalists called Reuben Barwe," he said pointing out that he did not think it was the decision of the Vatican but of Italy under the influence of Britain.

The Vatican is a sovereign state within Italy and those visiting have to transit through Rome.

Barwe is one of a number of senior journalists and executives in public media companies that have been put on the European Union and United States sanctions lists.

President Mugabe described the beatification of the late Pope John Paul II as a heavenly and emotional ceremony.

"Well it was absolutely heavenly, the atmosphere was just emotional, emotional spiritually.

"The Catholics did their thing in the Catholic way," he said.

He said the beatification was a much bigger ceremony than some of big masses such as that for the late Pope, which he attended in 2005.

"This was a higher mass at a heavenly level," he said, describing Pope John Paul as a great pontiff, the only one to visit Zimbabwe so far and a number of several other African countries.

Beatification is the final step to sainthood. For one to be declared "blessed" they must have performed a miracle.

It is believed the late pontiff helped cure a French nun of Parkinson's Disease in 2005.
If another miracle is attributed to his intercession, he will then be declared a saint.

Commenting on reports that he had ditched the Catholic Church, President Mugabe said he remained a Catholic but a progressive one who recognises the good that other churches do.

"I am progressive and I think the church (Roman Catholic) has also become progressive and ecumenical, which means seeing good in what other churches are doing.

"We no longer live in medieval times when we believed only the Catholic Church did good."

President Mugabe and his delegation, which included the First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe, Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and senior Government officials returned home yesterday.

Vice President John Nkomo, Cabinet Ministers, service chiefs and senior Government officials met them at the Harare International Airport.

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